Category Archives: Herald Examiner


From all accounts, the musical celebration of the French bicentennial is going fairly well — everywhere, that is, except in Paris. Here at home we’ve not done too badly so far, what with Pierre Boulez at the Philharmonic and Beaumarchais at Long Beach, and there’s more to come. It’s doubtful, however, if any musical salute […]


In local cultural annals these few weeks are generally thought of as the musical doldrums, the uneventful time between the end of the Philharmonic season and the Bowl. This year, however, this interval has hardly lived up (or down) to its name. Count the blessings: a Handel opera in Santa Monica, a new-music festival in […]

Gould Video

“The Gould problem,” intones the oracular voice as if from the very slopes of Delphi, “has not gone away.” The Gould problem, the Callas problem, the Rubinstein mystique, the Toscanini magic…these are the essential propositions on which the video documentary must rest: that curious media hybrid in which mortal scriptwriters grapple with immortal artistry, most […]

Pacific Festival

Some good new music in a good new locale: that sums up the events  at California State University Los Angeles (CSULA from now on), as the three-day First Pacific Contemporary Music Festival ended on Saturday night, with everybody on stage thanking everybody else, and a capacity crowd in the school’s 400-or-so-seat Playhouse cheering them all. […]

Record reviews

The Abbe Prevost had his Manon Lescaut die in a “desert near New Orleans”; Alexis de Tocqueville brought home to France glowing reports on the American political system; Albert Bierstadt painted our rivers and mountains. Foreign visitors have always reacted strongly and interestingly to the American landscape; few have acted as colorfully, as flamboyantly — […]

Orpheus Revisited

Never let it be said of your doting correspondent, that he flinched from undergoing the tortures of Hades on behalf of the edification and uplift of his loyal readers. He did just that last Sunday afternoon, in fact, forsaking domestic comforts and bright sunshine to join the paltry crowds at the scene of that notorious […]


There could have been no doubt that Aleksei Sultanov could play the piano– not, at least, after the diminutive, 19-year-old Soviet black-belt (Tae Kwon Do) owner stormed through the  ranks of contenders at the Eighth Annual Van Cliburn International Piano Competition at Forth Worth13 days ago, and ended high in the saddle. The question  to […]

Pastor Fido

Despite ugly rumors to the contrary, there are still new things –even old new things — under the sun. When, for example, did you last hear George Frideric Handel’s “Il Pastor Fido” — not, moreover, in the composer’s 1734 updating but as originally set down on paper in 1712? If your answer is “never,” you’re […]


SAN FRANCISCO Since his arrival on the musical scene some 20 years ago, Philip Glass has made important noises on many fronts. He is beyond question our most prolific and often-produced composer of opera; concerts of his music have done turn-away business as classical events, as rock events, and in that gray in-between area variously […]


The sun finally burned through the  fog late Sunday afternoon, in time to lend its glow to the last measures of Pierre Boulez’s “Improvisations sur Mallarme” and, thus, to the end of the 43rd annual Ojai Festival. Even in the preceding chill and gloom, however, there had been warmth and light; the final all-Boulez concert […]